Tyler Toffoli isn’t facing Linden Vey tonight. He’s facing the Vancouver Canucks, so this game falls under sports speak as Another Game.
“I’m not going to be worried about playing against him. It’ll be interesting to see him on the other side. It’ll be fun, but it’s just another game,” Toffoli said.
Toffoli, who built up palpable chemistry with Vey and Tanner Pearson as part of a fearsome line with the Manchester Monarchs over parts of the last two seasons, was reacquainted with his friend and ex-teammate away from the rink yesterday. While the Kings are preparing as they would for any home game, Vey obviously carries some considerable excitement into the tilt, which will reacquaint a pair of Pacific Division rivals for the first time this season.
“Obviously this is one you look forward to,” Vey said. “At the same time, we have to focus on getting a win. They’re a good team. They’re a team that plays well at home. It’s going to be a real challenge tonight.”
Vey was traded to the Vancouver Canucks for the 50th overall pick at the 2014 NHL Draft. The pick, used to select Kingston defenseman Roland McKeown, was acquired as a means to continue to build up the team’s prospect depth at defense at a time when the Kings were set with four regular centers down the middle of the lineup.
“I mean, I was surprised [at the trade], but I think obviously it was hard for him to find a spot on the team here,” Toffoli said. “It’s just the way it goes as a business. He’s there now and playing and getting some minutes there, so I’m obviously happy for him.”
Through 14 games, Vey’s point total matches his new jersey number – seven. He has seen time both as a fourth line center (where he’ll likely be utilized today) as well as a third line right wing. The skilled playmaker has also been used on the top unit on the power play for Vancouver, which enters tonight’s game with a 10-4-0 record.
Vey noted that as he matured with the Kings, he had to “focus on playing a 200-foot game.”
“I really evolved my game from junior on,” he said. “I obviously didn’t focus as much on playing in my own zone. In here, if you’re not a guy who can play in every situation, you’re not going to play a whole lot.”
Linden Vey, on Tyler Toffoli and Tanner Pearson:
Yeah, they were really good players. You could tell in junior and the American League that they were going to have a really good career. Obviously they’ve had a very good start to the season.
Vey, on whether Brad Richardson helped him get settled in Vancouver:
Yeah a little bit. I knew him a little bit from the time we were here together. He’s been good to have a familiar face, that’s for sure.
Darryl Sutter, on what he saw in Linden Vey:
We had Linden and Tanner and Tyler, and at the end of the day, none of those kids last year were able to play on our team at the start of the year just because of numbers, the way it worked. So as it went through the year, Lindy, even though he only played – what did he play? [Reporter: 18.]…He was probably here a lot more than that, just like those kids were. And then if you look at the position part of it, Tanner’s a left winger, Tyler’s a right winger and Lindy’s a center. And if you look at our team, one of the reason that we’ve been a really good team the last three years is those centermen. [Reporter: What did you like about Linden’s game?] You know, I had seen Linden Vey for a long time. I had seen him as a junior in Medicine Hat. So obviously his game has not changed much. He’s a guy when he’s got the puck is very, very hard to play.
Tyler Toffoli, on how Linden Vey blended with him and Tanner Pearson:
He’s just a really good playmaker. He made some really good plays with the puck. For myself, personally, he was pretty easy to play with. I think we kind of thought the same – even with Tanner – we kind of had the same mentality when we had the puck on our sticks. Obviously we had some hard times, but for the most part it was fun, and we had some really good success in Manch.
Toffoli, on what his line will look to do against Vancouver:
We’ve got to get back to our game. We’ve got to get hungrier around the net. We’ve got to shoot the puck more. Carts had a bunch of shots last game, but we’ve got to get to the net and make it hard for the goalie to make saves and get those second and third chances around the net.